In many ways we are all beginners in self-defense. Street violence is chaotic and therefore cannot be mastered in the way we master an instrument or a tool. A violent encounter can put a very sudden and permanent stop to things. Because of the unpredictable nature of the sociopath and of violent crime, we, the sentient human beings are always the target and must approach training with the utmost seriousness and with the humility of a beginner.
There are lots of scenarios we can be in where we could be attacked; elevators, underground parking, busy clubs, in the lift, but the attacks are usually pretty common: a grab, a shove, a haymaker, a tackle or some kind of weapon. That already accounts for about 90% of everything you're going to see.
If you are asking yourself, “How can I possibly learn everything I need to know to defend myself? The possibilities are endless and I just don't have the time to learn.” Lets look at this from a different perspective, lets think about this from a cost perspective, the economics of violence. What will it cost you to train to protect yourself? Fifteen minutes a day? What might it cost you if you didn't know how to protect yourself or if you don't fight back? Dig a little deeper, seriously think about what it would cost you? The emotional/psychological taxes, the deeper impact of violence, the noxious effects that create post traumatic stress disorders, the memories that stain our mind's eye and agitate our nervous system. What if the cost was your LIFE!?
Let’s take a look at something closer to home. This CCTV footage was taken in a lift somewhere along Holland Road, Singapore:
Although this lady lost her handbag fortunately for her she got away safely. She survived the ambush and appears to have gotten away relatively unscathed. I wouldn't want to put my survivability down to chance or luck and most certainly wouldn't want to fall victim to an attack.
The original posting and article for this video can be found here.
Now after watching the video above have a look at this video below on how simple it is to improve your awareness and survivability. Having a plan and strategy to react if such a situation were to occur crucial.
So how can we possibly learn everything we need to know to defend ourselves? Many would have you believe you need to be a seasoned veteran or expert martial artist with years of training to be able to effectively defend yourself, but that logic is fundamentally flawed.
Lets start with what you already have, the cool thing about personal defense (regardless of your experience, gender, profession) is that most of what you need to know (and do) is already hard-wired into you. You don’t need to buy anything. You just need to ‘pay attention’ and then act accordingly.
Take a moment to let this “re-frame” sink in. Don't think of self-defense as fighting. Fighting may become part of a self defense scenario and yes you should know a little about it and be prepared if needed but there is more to self defense than that.
Consider the person who is walking home late at night and avoids a dark alley even though it might save ten minutes of walking. Isn’t this self-defense? I would argue that this is the best form of self-defense – avoid needing it altogether!
As far as preparation both physically and mentally for an encounter that may call on your ability to defend yourself think about this question which Coach Tony Blauer poses to groups frequently, ”If you knew that you had to fight to the death tomorrow, would it change the way that you train today?”
If I knew that I was going to have to fight for my life I would want to show up in tip-top shape. I would want to be as strong, as fast, and as powerful as I could be. I would want to be able to use all the skills I have effectively and efficiently and I would be ready for the fight to drag on. I’d need to be properly fuelled, hydrated, well rested, and mentally able to keep up a sustained strenuous effort.
The very fact that you are reading this post is an indication that you take your personal defense and the safety of your loved ones seriously. By staying alert and aware in addition to honing the latent skills your body has for survival and thinking about the optimal strategy your reaction to a true ambush you would increase your survivability, simply by being better prepared.
For additional information and to learn more about how to defend yourself, check out our defense starter class at http://www.innervatecrossfit.com/#!crossfit-defense-starter/ca
You may also want to listen to this interview with the SPEAR system's founder, Tony Blauer at this link mp3 : http://journal.crossfit.com/2014/08/crossfit-radio-episode-343.tpl